Physical merchandise often seems to be an afterthought when it comes to online multiplayer games. Unlike Mario and Pokemon, which have been heavily merchandised by Nintendo, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, CS:GO, and Team Fortress 2 have remarkably little in the way of non-digital official merchandise that fans can purchase.
Dota is a bit of an exception, especially since Valve keeps adding more Dota merchandise to the Secret Shop at TI each year, but even then, the selection, and quality, leaves a little bit to be desired. If you want to buy a gift for a die-hard Dota fan in your life, this list is a good place to start.
Dota 2 Pajamas
I’m actually wearing these pajamas while I write this article. Unfortunately, the WeLoveFine store stopped shipping outside of North America after the ridiculous shipping costs were exposed and Valve temporarily took the shop offline. I can’t find the warning on the website anymore, so WeLoveFine might have resumed overseas shipping. I’m happy with the quality of the pajamas, but I’m careful to hang dry them and wash them on cold. Be prepared for high shipping costs, but if you want a pair of your own, you can buy them here.
I bought a Tango necklace after TI6 from ThinkGeek. It’s still available, and ThinkGeek ships to many countries. I have a Nickel allergy and can’t wear most costume jewelry, so I’m pleased that this one is Nickel-free.
Mine’s lost a charge, as you can see. For nearly $25, I was hoping the beads would be connected with a better glue. I was able to save the bead, fortunately, so I just tell people who ask that it’s a shared Tango.
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The baristas at the hip coffee place downtown once told me they liked my leaf necklace, so that’s some pretty high fashion praise.
The Tango necklace is available at ThinkGeek.
I have an outdoor job, and I’m also a redhead who burns after just a few minutes of sun exposure. I spend most of the spring and summer hiding under lightweight but full coverage clothing.
This piece of clothing is technically called a “neck gaiter,” and it keeps the sun off the back of your neck while you’re working outside and helps retain heat in the winter. In the outdoors-y community, these are often referred to as a “BUFF,” the makers of one of the most popular brands of neck gaiters. If Valve wants to make millions, it’s time to get the ball rolling on a partnership to create DotaBuffs.
I don’t actually remember where I bought it from; it might’ve been from LootCrate. If you want to find something similar, you’ll see these pop up on Ebay from time to time.
The “Muggernaut” Coffee Mug
I love a good pun.
I’d like one of these Muggernauts for my desk at work. You can buy one, as well as a Sven Stein, from the Valve store.
Honorable Mention: Emoticharm Pins
My WeLoveFine order came with a set of emoticharm pins:
Not pictured: Timbersaw, as he’s stuck on one of my bags at the moment.
As much as I like the merch that I own, the common theme with the Dota merchandise I’ve encountered is that it’s overpriced and lacking in quality. In the future, I’d like to see a focus on producing Dota-themed versions of pre-existing merchandise. You thought I was kidding about DotaBuffs?
For example, instead of selling a $65 bag of unknown quality, Valve could partner with Jansport to create a Dota Edition of their quality backpacks.
I’m a little bit disappointed when Valve gives the go-ahead for a company to sell things like these $55 leggings:
They have a tiny Dota logo on them, but that’s it. Some of the other Dota apparel on the offical store also features small logos, but it incorporates style like the cowl neck which at least adds value to the piece. But $55 for a pair of leggings with a little icon? No thanks, Valve.
Blink Dagger Keychain
Lastly, I got this sweet Blink Dagger keychain from somewhere in Russia. It was awesome until the jump ring broke off. Is there a metaphor there for CIS Dota? You tell me.
You can buy a Blink Dagger keychain off of Amazon for about $7 USD.
Have a Dota fan in your life? I’ve just given you a bunch of gift ideas for the holiday season. You’re welcome.
While there’s some decent Dota merchandise out there, I hope Valve steps up their game over the next year. There’s definitely demand, and, most importantly, there’s overseas demand, so it’s important to work with a company that can ship all over the world. I’d like to see some more creative pieces like the Muggernaut or the Mirana/Luna Cat Nap pajama set instead of slapping a Dota logo on stuff and calling it a day.